Minneapolis  is part of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis-Saint Paul. At approximately 380,000 people, it is the largest city in Minnesota.
Minneapolis Daytime Skyline
Minneapolis was destined to be a center of commerce due to its location at the Falls of St.Anthony, which was named by the French explorer Louis Hennepin in 1680. St Anthony Falls is by far the largest source of water power on the Mississippi River. The falls were harnessed to power lumber mills in the 1840s and later for flour milling. By 1870, Minneapolis on the west bank and St Anthony on the east bank formed the largest flour producing center in the world. In 1872, Minneapolis absorbed its older neighbor. Most of the old St Anthony township is now known as Northeast Minneapolis. A small part of the old township comprises most of the current suburb of St. Anthony.
The name "Minneapolis" (meaning "The City of Lakes" in a mash-up of Dakota and Ancient Greek) refers to the city's many lakes. The local jewels are the "Chain of Lakes": Cedar, Isles, Calhoun, Harriet, Nokomis, each 3-4 miles around. The city's excellent parks department maintains walking and biking paths around the lakes, offering residents a place to exercise or stroll. The Lake Harriet Bandshell is a popular summertime event host often featuring the renowned Minnesota Orchestra. Don't miss a ride on the restored trolley between Lakes Calhoun and Harriet.
The city has done an excellent job fostering developed neighborhoods, each with a distinctive feel. Downtown is the visual anchor featuring the high-rise suites, sporting events (Timberwolves, Vikings, and Twins all play downtown), and nightclub scene. Northeast is the oldest part of the city, showing off its working-class and immigrant roots in great ethnic food, neighborhood bars, and social clubs, and more recently home to an arts and riverfront redevelopment movement. Uptown historically has been one of the city's youth centers featuring funky food, drink, theater, and plenty of tattoos and mohawks, but is orienting more towards yuppies and young families as real estate anywhere near the lakes becomes an ever more prized commodity. Uptown and the Lakes area dissolves into quiet, tucked-away Linden Hills (a one-time bedroom community) to the south and Lyn-Lake, home to many indie stages, music-oriented cafes and boozers, and alternative lifestyles and hangouts of all sorts, to the east. The University of Minnesota's main campus straddles the Mississippi River in the southeast surrounded by the usual college campus environs.
- Minneapolis/Saint Paul International Airport, (IATA: MSP) (ICAO: KMSP), . The airport is divided into the Lindbergh and Humphrey terminals with most flights arriving at the former. Savvy travelers should check to make sure they know which terminal they are arriving at/departing from.
The new light rail train is extremely convenient for those who need to get downtown from the airport. Fare is $1.50-$2 depending on the time of day. The trains are fast and clean. They also serve the Mall of America and parts of South Minneapolis. The light rail station is located at Lindbergh. There is also a station at Humphrey, but it is currently closed through late 2007 due to nearby construction. If you're arriving at Humphrey, you will need to board a shuttle bus heading to Lindbergh.
Northwest Airlines (the world's fourth-largest) maintains one of its three US hubs at MSP and is the predominant presence and is a member of the SkyTeam alliance. Northwest offers non-stop overseas service from MSP to Tokyo-Narita, Amsterdam, and London (Gatwick). Sun Country also calls MSP home, making it that much easier to find discount fares to/from the Twin Cities within the continental United States. Icelandair, the only foreign intercontinental carrier at MSP, offers seasonal service to Keflavik with Boeing 757-200s. Air Canada Jazz is the second foreign carrier offering service to Toronto.
Airlines serving the Lindbergh Terminal:
- Air Canada Jazz
- American Airlines
- Continental Airlines
- Delta Air Lines
- Frontier Airlines
- Northwest Airlines
- United Airlines
- US Airways
Airlines serving the Humphrey Terminal:
- AirTran Airways
- Casino Express
- Champion Air
- Miami Air International
- Midwest Airlines
- Omni Air International
- Ryan International
- Sun Country Airlines
Interstate Highways 35 (35W for Minneapolis, 35E for St. Paul) and 94 are the main arteries into town. Both will take you to the edges of downtown. I-35W/E runs north and south (for the most part) and I-94 east and west; both interstates will connect you to the I-494/694 beltway around the metro area. I-394 runs west from downtown to I-494, where it becomes US Hwy 12. Be sure to keep an eye on which lane you're in, as freeway interchanges come up fast, and traffic back-ups will occur at any time, day or night; the morning (7-9AM) and evening (3-7PM) rush hours are predictably congested.
Amtrak, . Daily service to Midway station, located just off University Avenue near the border between Saint Paul and Minneapolis. The "Empire Builder", Amtrak trains 7/27 and 8/28, serves the Twin Cities area, terminating at Chicago and Seattle or Portland (the train splits in Spokane, Washington). This train covers a route similar to the historic "Empire Builder" of the James J. Hill Great Northern Railway.
Taxi is probably your best bet for getting to your final destination from the train station, particularly if you're coming from Chicago or other points east. The train arrives at 10:30PM or later, when the heavily reduced night shift bus schedules have gone into effect. If a wait doesn't worry you the #16 bus runs along University Avenue, a block south of the station, and it will take you to downtown Minneapolis or Saint Paul. Consider fueling up at The Dubliner on University Ave across from the station. It's a great, friendly little pub and the #16 heading into Minneapolis stops on its doorstep.
Greyhound Bus Lines,  and Jefferson Lines . Buses arrive at the Hawthorne Transportation Center, located at 950 Hawthorne Ave (at 10th St, one block west of Hennepin) in downtown Minneapolis. It's just a few minute's taxi ride away from most of the downtown hotels. It's 4-5 blocks away from a few major bus routes and the light rail. Check the web site above for schedule details. The depot is near a homeless shelter, so it's not uncommon to see a few homeless people hanging out nearby. The area is well-patrolled and quite safe.
Megabus, . Low-cost bus company that offers service to Minneapolis from Chicago and Milwaukee. From Chicago, you can connect to buses heading to St Louis, Kansas City, Ann Arbor, Detroit, Toledo, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Columbus, and Louisville. Fares can be as little as $1 each way if ordered far enough in advance. There are two marked stops in Minneapolis. The first stop is in downtown Minneapolis on the west side of 3rd Ave N between Washington Ave and 5th St (note: it's directly under the 4th St Garage). The second stop is near the University of Minnesota on the south side of University Ave next to the University Ave Parking Ramp, across the street from Williams Arena.
The city streets have a grid system that's helpful if you take the time to learn it. Minneapolis is divided into four quadrants: North, South, Northeast and Southeast. Hennepin Avenue forms the divider between streets labeled N and S near downtown. This division continues through the smaller portion of Minneapolis that lies east of the Mississippi River, dividing it into Northeast (NE) and Southeast (SE). Further to the west of downtown, this division lies along Linden Avenue, which is just north of the I-394 freeway. In North, Northeast and Southeast Minneapolis, all roads will carry the N, NE, or SE prefixes on street signs. In South Minneapolis, the north-south running avenues are marked with an S. The east-west running streets are marked with a W or E, depending if you are west or east of Nicollet Avenue. Even though the street signs show these directional designators before the street names, most locals will read the addresses with them at the end. Thus "York Avenue South" appears on street signs as "S York Ave" and "N 33rd Ave" is pronounced as "33rd Avenue North".
Minneapolis also is one of the few cities to use multi-colored street signs. These colors were originally developed to indicate the priority of plowing during winter storms. Although the plowing system has since changed, they can still be helpful to indicate what sort of street you are on. Blue signs indicate major roads which are "Snow Emergency Routes" in winter. These are still the first streets to be plowed after a storm. Rust colored signs indicate roads that run primarily east-west. Light green signs indicate roads that run primarily north-south. Dark green signs indicate scenic parkways that ring the city and the lakes.
- Metro Transit, .
- Light rail. Also known locally as LRT for Light Rail Transit, or Hiawatha Line. Serving downtown Minneapolis, the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Minneapolis/Saint Paul International, the Mall of America, and all points in between. This is probably the easiest, fastest, and safest bet for first-time visitors. There's a lot to do along the route, and since currently there only is one route, the odds of getting lost are considerably reduced. The next phase of construction is slated to connect to downtown Saint Paul via the University of Minnesota's Minneapolis campus, opening in 2014. Also, to be completed by 2009, the Light Rail will be extending a major artery to the north metro with stops in Riverdale Crossing (Coon Rapids), Ramsey, Big Lake and St.Cloud and more along the North Star Corridor Line. It is expected to relieve the heavily traveled Highway 10 and I94 congestion by taking up to 1 and a half lanes of traffic off of the road. The North Star Corridor will help to connect the north metro and St.Cloud (pop. 80,000) and its' surrounding suburbs of around 50,000 people+ .
|6||Uptown/Chain of Lakes, Downtown, Target Center, Dinkytown, U of MN.|
|10||Downtown, Northeast Minneapolis, Central Avenue|
|16/50 (Limited Stop)||Downtown, Metrodome, U of MN, Amtrak Depot, Saint Paul|
|18||Downtown, Nicollet Avenue, Eat Street, Art Institute/MCAD|
|21/53 (Limited Stop)||Uptown/Lakes, Lyn-Lake, Midtown, Saint Paul|
- Bus. Knowing your Route 5 from your Route 55 is considered one mark of a true-blue Twin Citian. The routes and fares are notoriously confusing to non-natives. The Metro Transit web site, however, is very user-friendly. The Trip Planner lets you provide your beginning and ending points and times, and suggests the best route(s) to get where you want to go. You can customize this based on walking distances, number of transfers, and the like. As routes are anything but linear, you should carry a schedule and map for any bus route you are riding; these are available on the buses (above you and to your left after you pay) as well as at many city government buildings, libraries, and the like. Bus stops are located nearly everywhere throughout the city, but some are served only very infrequently, and most are not labeled as to which routes serve them at which times. Be aware of the white Metro Transit notices sometimes posted at stops; routes often change due to construction or local events and parades.
Buying a pass via Metro Transit's website in advance of your trip can be a smart bit of preparation depending on your needs. It saves you money, but more importantly it keeps you from having to worry about exact change! Stored Value cards would be the best choice for most visitors except for one glaring mistake: they are only good for bus travel, not the LRT. 31-Day SuperSaver Passes cover both and are ideal for the extended stay in that they are good for unlimited rides and so you never have to worry about buying another or recharging. However, as of Fall 2006 these begin at $76 for access to all trains and buses (other than commuter express buses between downtown and suburbs) and so are likely overkill for a shorter stay.
An Introduction to Minneapolis via Public Transit
The northern head of the LRT is in downtown on Hennepin Avenue and South 5th Street, near the Warehouse District and the Target Center. Along Hennepin next to the LRT station are bus stops for Route 6, connecting Uptown, Downtown, Dinkytown/University of Minnesota. This Route 6/LRT nexus is a good start for first-time visitors, as most of the hotels (provided you're staying in the city and not some dreary airport/suburban business traveler hovel) are within a few minutes' walk. If you are staying at the airport you can get here via the LRT. Other suburban accommodations are likely to be located near express buses, which largely terminate one block over at Hennepin and South 4th Street. Ask your concierge.
Taking the LRT south from downtown, the first stop you might be interested in is The Metrodome. Home to the Minnesota Vikings (football), The Minnesota Twins (baseball), University of Minnesota football and the occasional rock concert, it's an iconic landmark. Alternately known as just the Dome, the Homer Dome, and the Humper Dome, among others, it's stay-puft roof is instantly recognizable.
What's In a Name?
Locals often distinguish between two sections of the West Bank: Seven Corners and Cedar-Riverside. The two are separated by the University of Minnesota's West Bankcampus. To the north is the very collegiate Seven Corners, home to an abundance of campus-flavored bars and student apartments which bleed into downtown. Cedar-Riverside on the south is traditionally a combination of young artists, musicians, and the accompanying scenesters, substances, and subculture. Many locals refer to "their" West Bank as simply The West Bank, and call the other half by its specific name. The two are physically divided not only by the University but by the sunken freeway, which connects Washington Ave with Interstate 35W and serves as a traffic bypass. Cedar-Riverside sits on the doorstep of some of the city's most neglected and victimized (but not particularly unsafe) ghettos and largely East African immigrant settlements. For more on Minneapolis' sordid history of urban "renewal" and demarcation via freeway building, see Larry Millet's excellent Lost Twin Cities.
Next stop, Cedar/Riverside. If you walk a few blocks east to Cedar Avenue, there's a vibrant, diverse and sometimes dangerous neighborhood known, coincidentally, as Cedar-Riverside or the West Bank. When I say dangerous, I'm not talking about Cabrini Green level crime, but rather, a neighborhood where one should stay in well-lit areas and cab home if you have a few too many or stay a little too late. (Bars are open until 2 a.m.) Before you are frightened away, there's much this neighborhood has to offer that really shouldn't be missed. The 400 Bar, on the corner of Cedar and Riverside Avenues, is one of the top clubs in town. It used to be a place where local bands played on pool tables. Now they offer national touring acts from all over the country. The drink prices are a little inflated.
East on Riverside Avenue is the Hard Times Cafe. Hard Times is only closed for two hours every day, from 4:00 am to 6:00 am. The quality of the food can vary widely depending on who is on duty, but you can count on plenty of cool and aloof no matter who it is. They offer good coffee, (often) loud music, games, etc. The Nomad is just a little further south on Cedar Ave. It has a nice outdoor patio for smoking and inside they have a stage where you can see a variety of local rock or jazz shows. Across the street from The Nomad, is Palmers. Palmers gets a little rough, if you don't know how to behave yourself while drinking. Not for the weak of heart or mind. Mind your own business if you go there. Keep heading back south down Cedar Avenue and you'll come to the Triple Rock Social Club, one of a number of Twin Cities music venues which seem to have arisen out of someone's dream of parking a bar in their basement rec-room. The bar side has great food with a lot of vegetarian options. The club side has a big stage and fantastic sound system. Check their web site above for listings.
Still further down Cedar Avenue are the Whiskey Junction and The Cabooze. Whiskey Junction is a favorite hang out for bikers, but a good number of those are the suburban type with expensive Harley Davidsons. The crowd and atmosphere at the Cabooze varies widely, depending at least in part on who is doing their best interpretation of blues that night--from all those people who disappeared from campus freshman year to long-haired exurbans with Polaris ballcaps. Both venues offer live music most nights. If you make it to the Cabooze, you're already near the Franklin Avenue Light Rail stop. Get back on and head down to Lake Street.
Lake Street/Midtown has a lot to offer on weekend days in the spring and summer. Namely an outdoor market with lots of good food and locally made goodies. The neighborhood has become a center for Mexican and Central American immigrants, and hence the food of those regions, in Minneapolis. See the Eat section for more information. Worth a stop for sure. You can also catch a 21 bus from here to Uptown (make sure the bus is going west).
The next few stops take you to mostly residential neighborhoods. While there are things to do along them, they're not easily accessible on foot, so we'll skip ahead to 50th Street/Minnehaha Park. The Minnehaha Park station is adjacent to a park and Minnehaha Falls. You can see the 53 foot falls and walk along the creek on its way to the Mississippi River.
The Fort Snelling station is located after the VA Medical Center station. Fort Snelling makes a great day trip. It's the original settlement in Minnesota and an early wilderness outpost.
Next is the Airport and then the Mall of America, the gargantuan monument to advanced capitalism. The MOA is not quite as sparkling as it was on its opening over a decade ago, but it is still the largest mall around and by some accounts the leading tourist destination in the United States. Tour operators from as far away as Japan organize charter flights and hotel bookings for the single purpose of experiencing "The Mall". It offers an indoor amusement park, movies, restaurants and more shopping than is comprehensible. It's a day trip in itself, but not for the thrifty. Food, shopping and the Camp Formerly Known as Snoopy (now The Park at MOA) can burn through your wallet fast. Not for those with poor impulse control. For the tourist in you, check out local kitsch such as the Lake Wobegone Store.
The return trip: by disembarking at the Lake Street Station and catching a #21 Bus going west, or by returning to the LRT headwaters at Hennepin Avenue and catching a #6 Bus bearing south, one can end up at Uptown and the jewel of Minneapolis, the gorgeous Chain of Lakes. If you're here between Memorial Day and Labor Day, rent a canoe at Lake Calhoun (stop at the nearby Lunds grocery on Lake Street for picnic materials) and see four lakes, three enchanting sheltered canals, two islands, and one classic creosote-tastic railroad trestle from a duck's eye view.
The 21 brings you past the Midtown Market and Lyn-Lake on the way, while the 6 takes you through downtown and past the gleaming Loring Park area, featuring the spectacular Basilica of St. Mary, the infamous Spoon and Cherry, and the shiny metal Rock 'Em-Sock 'Em Robot head that is the new Walker Art Center expansion. Heading north on the 6 will take you across Nicollet Island, another of Minneapolis' abundant urban havens, and through the original Minneapolis/St. Anthony milling district and a touch of the ethnic food and drink haven that is Northeast Minneapolis on the way to Dinkytown and the University of Minnesota (including an old campus district which is on the National Register of Historic Places, as well as some of the top libraries in the world).
- Plan a trip on the light rail and bus or find out about fares online at:  or call 612-373-3333
Since 2000 the Twin Cities have invested heavily in the development of paved bike trails and traffic bike lanes and according to some estimates, currently the Twin Cities have more paved bike lanes than any other metropolitan area in the USA. The Twin Cities also offer a good mix of off-road bike trails.
Minneapolis offers abundant biking lanes and biking trails throughout the city, for example one can bike from Chaska to St. Paul using only bike trails, some thirty miles; .
During the winter, major bike trails such as the Midtown Greenway are plowed at the same time as major streets. In some neighborhoods like Downtown, Dinkytown, Uptown, and near the University of Minnesota campus, bikes are seen almost as often as cars.
The Twin Cities also offer a big variety of cycling shops from very race oriented ones (e.g Grand Performance in St. Paul and Flanders Bros in Minneapolis) to more consumer oriented shops (e.g. Penn Cycle, Erik's, Boehm's, etc.)
A very useful cycling shop for visitors and tourists is Calhoun Cycle, which offers, among other services, offers bike rental (both regular and tandem bikes).
For additional cycling information in the Twin Cities area please visit the Twin Cities Biycling Club.
The museums, natural parks and waterfronts, malls, shopping districts, dining zones, and should give you several options no matter what your age.
Theaters are clustered in Downtown, West Bank, and Uptown
Minneapolis on the surface seems like a pretty but rather quiet tourist destination. If you properly do your research though, there is plenty to do.
- As mentioned earlier above, Minneapolis has beautiful lakes and riverfronts that the local residents work hard to keep clean. It is also easy with a car, the proper permits, and necessary equipment to go camping as close as twenty miles east on the St. Croix River, or as far as seven hours north on the Canadian border. And it can be delightfully cheap. Try Explore Minnesota for more info.
- Biking. An old freight train railway has been converted into the Midtown Greenway, , which cuts through the middle of South Minneapolis beginning on the West Bank and crossing west all the way to the Lake Calhoun area and meeting up with the Kenworth Trail,  which in turn connects with the Cedar Lake Trail, .
Lakes and Parks
- Walk, bike, drive, swim or paddle around the chain of lakes running north to south along the western side of Minneapolis proper. Some are connected by lagoons and creeks which eventually spill into the Mississippi River at the famed Minnehaha Falls, inspiration of Longfellow's "Song of Hiawatha". These are all part of the Minneapolis Grand Rounds, a 40-mile loop around the city begun over a century ago during the nation's first grand movement to toss the "Keep Off the Grass!" signs into the dustbin of history.
- Only beer in cans are allowed in Minneapolis Parks.
- Shower soon after swimming to avoid swimmer's itch.
- Cedar Lake. Cedar Lake has a shady public swimming beach and an unofficial nude beach.
- Lake of the Isles. Lake of the Isles has bird sanctuaries on its (officially off-limits) islands, and a public skating rink (with warming house) are groomed in the winter months. Check the newspaper; you may get lucky and catch a world-class speek-skating competition here. Its shores also feature some of the best climbing trees in the city, particularly for those who carry a short rope ladder in their pack.
- Lake Calhoun. Lake Calhoun has a large public beach and boat rentals (and lessons), and a snack bar that resembles a real restaurant more every summer.
- Lake Harriet. Lake Harriet also has boat rentals near its bandshell.
- Lake Nokomis. Lake Nokomis has several beaches including a swimming beach with life guards on duty. It also has public boat access for canoes, kayaks and sail boats. The swimming beach also has public rest rooms and vends food (hot dogs, ice cream, etc.). Several convenience stores and a grocery store are nearby on Cedar Avenue if you need to make a run for that item you forgot on your picnic.
- Minnehaha Creek. Minnehaha Creek connects Lake Minnetonka in the far west suburbs (a yuppie drinking and jet-skiing nightmare) with the Mississippi river, running through Lake Nokomis and other small lakes along the way. A short tributary connects it to the southeast corner of Lake Harriet.
The face of Minneapolis' lakes and creeks has been ever-changing since the Industrial Age began. Each of the chain of lakes has been dredged repeatedly, shifting the shores and in the case of Isles accidentally submerging a long-lost third island. Basset Creek once connected the northwest section of the Grand Rounds—including Wirth Lake and points north and west—with the Mississippi before being diverted and buried to serve as storm drainage. Large stretches of swampy wetlands once made for a makable, if buggy, passage from the north and west suburbs through all of the Lakes to the river. Now this is possible only for those willing to brave manholes, raccoons, and the law in a descent below the city.
- For those who rent a boat at Lake Calhoun: Calhoun links to Isles via a small pond and stream known as The Lagoon. Bearing west (left) down the shore of Isles will reveal a brick-lined canal with a canopy of trees like something from a Victorian period piece that opens up Cedar Lake to the adventurous paddler. Watch out for windy days, as this is a surprisingly large and exposed lake where the waves can catch a person off guard! On the far northern end of Calhoun you'll find a tiny outlet beneath an old railroad trestle that leads to a semi-secluded pond called Brownie Lake. It's relatively quiet but for the sound of I-394 on the other side of the trees, and is often a good place to spot Blue Herons, hawks, and occasionally a Bald Eagle.
- Sadly, Lake Harriet has no connection with Lake Calhoun, so a complete traversal of the lakes and Minnehaha Creek isn't possible without using your own canoe and portaging over about 3/4 of a mile of hilly bike path. Also, most of Minnehaha Creek isn't exactly navigable except during the height of the spring melt when you may be able to paddle between Harriet and Nokomis if you don't mind find the current in one direction. Normally many stretches of the creek are no more than two inches of water bubbling over a rough, rocky bed, terminating in a 53-foot fall into the Mississippi River just above the Ford Dam. Tempting, but probably a bad idea!
- Moving away from the lakes, Minneapolis features many other parks with recreational, natural, and historical merit in various degrees. Boom Island Park, just North of Nicollet Island and most easily accessible from the Stone Arch Bridge, features nice fishing on side channels and some of the most unique skyline views in the United States, as well as a look at the century-old remains of massive brickworks and water-power tailrace tunnels of the Pillsbury A Mill. The Mill was the last functioning reminder of Minneapolis' boomtown heyday to shut down in 2005, and is slated to become yet another retail/restaurant/condo building lining the redbrick St. Anthony Main.
- Directly across the river is the Mill Ruins Park and Mill City Museum, next to the St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam—the final lock on the journey up the Mississippi. The Mill Ruins was the site of the Washburn A Mill among others, host of an infamous explosion and fire in the 19th century. And the 20th. And the 20th again. Oh, and there were two more in the 19th. Eventually, the burnt shells were given up on and left standing, and much of the canal and tunnel system which provided water power was covered with earth and paved over to form West River Road. The park features excavations of quite a bit of these early stoneworks from an age when very rich men prided themselves on the quality of even the most mundane, invisible, underground works; as well as the outfall of Basset Creek, buried for the last 1.5 miles of its run beneath downtown.
- Tower Hill Park in Southeast Minneapolis is home to the venerable Witch's Hat, the Prospect Park neighborhood's 1914 water tower. It is on the National Register of Historic Places, and offers maybe the best (if not the broadest) view in the city on the one day per year that its observation deck is open.
- University of Minnesota, .
- Augsburg College, .
- Minneapolis College of Art and Design, .
- Minneapolis Community and Technical College, .
- Normandale College, .
- Mall of America, the nation's largest shopping mall, is located at Cedar Avenue and Interstate 494, Bloomington, 952 883-8800. It has hundreds of stores and an IKEA nearby it. You can get there by Light Rail or bus.
- Lava Lounge for fashion wear, it's located by Lyn-Lake. The clothes are fitted and range from hip hop to techno-industrial wear.
- Ragstock is a local chain of used clothing stores. Clothing is shipped into the downtown "Warehouse" location from thrift stores across the country. There it is sorted through and either torn to rags for commercial use, or pulled aside to be sold in one of the stores. There are currently stores on University Av. in Saint Paul, West lake St. in Uptown Minneapolis, and N. 7th St. in Downtown Minneapolis.
The Twin Cities are a hotbed of independent presses and bookstores.
- Uncle Hugo's Science Fiction, 2864 Chicago Avenue S., (at Lake Street), +1 612 824-6347, fax +1 612 827-6394  - M-F 10AM-8PM, Sa 10AM-6PM, Su noon-5PM. Sharing the same building with Uncle Edgar's Mystery. A treasure trove of used and new Science Fiction and Fantasy books. It is the oldest SF/fantasy book store in North America, and has a well-earned national reputation for its vast selection.
- Uncle Edgar's Mystery, 2864 Chicago Avenue S. (at Lake Street), +1 612 824-9984, fax +1 612 827-6394 - M-F 10AM-8PM, Sa 10AM-6PM, Su noon-5PM. Sharing the same building with Uncle Hugo's Science Fiction. Specializing in used and new mystery books.
- The prices are reasonable and you can get an extra 10% off all purchases by buying a $4 discount card. If you're buying more than $40 worth of books, it pays for itself with the first purchase. It is located in a shady part of town, so it's best to arrive with plenty of daylight left.
- Dreamhaven Books and Comics, 912 West Lake Street, +1 612 823-6161, fax +1 612 823-6062  - M-F 11AM-8PM, Sa 11AM-6PM, Su noon-6PM. New and used science fiction, fantasy, horror, film and art books, comics, an adults-only room. Mail order and in-store readings.
- Orr Books & Cards, 3045 Hennepin Avenue at Lake, +1 612 823-2408 - Regional and national poetry, journals, arts, cookbooks, and course reading lists for local small graduate institutes. Splendid little bookstore in Uptown.
- College of Comic Book Knowledge, 3151 Hennepin Avenue S., +1 612 822-2309  - Shares the building with Nostalgia Zone. Great for newer and more mainstream comics.
- Nostalgia Zone, 3151 Hennepin Avenue S., +1 612 822-2806  - Shares the building with College of Comic Book Knowledge. Best for hard to find old comics and independents.
You can also sell comics here, and the dealers are great. The establishment is over 30 years old.
- Amazon Book Store, 4755 Chicago Avenue, +1 612 821-9630, - Founded in 1970, well before the online book retailer of the same name. Boasts the title of the oldest independent feminist book store in North America. The store is practically a Minneapolis institution.
- Roadrunner Records, 4304 Nicollet Ave S, 612 822 0613, . Has a great selection of independent LP's, CD's and DVD's. Known for their international music section. Punk and alt-country genres don't suffer. A great independent record store with lots of local and independently produced product.
- Extreme Noise Records, 407 West Lake St, . Specializes in all punk and subgenres therein. A cooperative run for over ten years by local punks. Amazing selection of punk 'zines, CD's, LP's and 7-inches. The place in town for finding hard-to-find punk records, trading punk records, finding other punks, seeking out that basement show, etc. Don't let the punk rock moniker scare the less-than punk away. If you want to see what a truly independent local scene can produce and meet some of the most earnest members of said scene, you must check out Extreme Noise.
- Electric Fetus, 2000 4th Ave. S, (on the corner of Franklin Ave and 4th Ave, near 35W), . Possibly the most complete selection of CD's in town across all genres. Hold on tight to your wallet when you walk in here. If there's an obscure CD you've been looking for, this place is likely to have it. Listening stations are posted throughout the store enticing all who enter to try out some new music. It's the place you would go if you had unlimited resources for buying new music. Be prepared to pay full price, although new releases are frequently on sale. Buy four CD's and get a discount. Tickets for local venues are on sale here too.
- Treehouse Records 2557 Lyndale Ave S (northeast corner of 26th and Lyndale), 612 872-7400. A somewhat small but cozy record shop. The selection of new CD's isn't very large (you might be better off going to the Electric Fetus for that sort of thing), but they have craploads of vinyl, which is what they are noted for anyway.
Minneapolis is renowned for its restaurants, ethnic or American. It could take weeks to sample just a part of what it has to offer. For a good listing of the city's best restaurants check the City Pages' Best of 2005 or their restaurant reviews . Also, try The Rake  or the Star Tribune .
It's all about the locals when looking for a great place to eat. Here are some gems that earn frequent top kudos from Minneapolis' locals:
Areas For Dining
- Don't miss Nicollet Avenue South's Eat Street centered on East 27th Street for a variety of ethnic fare. Azia, the Caterpillar Lounge and Anemoni Sushi & Oyster Bar are at 2550 Nicollet, and are an upscale Asian restaurant and lounge. Other highly recommended restaurants are Quang Restaurant and Jasmine Deli for Vietnamese, Yummy and Seafood Palace for Chinese, and the so-called Black Forest Inn (which is not a hotel) for German cuisine. Little Tijuana is a nice stop for alluring punk/goth waitresses and Mexican plates. Safari Restaurant provides an excellent introduction to the unique cuisine of Somalia. The Vietnamese restaurants are incredibly cheap ($5-$10 per person) and have received consistently exuberant reviews since their openings (Quang was even positively reviewed in the New York Times). The latter four are standard $8-$20 dollars per person except during lunch.
- The Dinkytown and Stadium Village areas near the University of Minnesota have great offerings.
- The Dinkytowner is a feature, with great breakfast and diner-ish food and free pool in the evenings.
- The Steak Knife, formerly Afghan Express, still features gyros—stuffed with french fries like they do in Greece—and baklava mixed in with excellent burgers and hot sandwiches and hoagies.
- Loring Pasta Bar is an outpost of a former Loring Park legend. It is comfy, cozy, and features an excellent bar (and beautiful marble and stone bathrooms), but it's better for wine dates than dinner. Food is nothing special and quite expensive. Salsa on Saturday nights is a must. Bring your dancing shoes and a few bucks for the cover.
- Stadium Village
- Manhattan Loft Washington Ave SE and Oak St. Manhattan Lot offers homemade pizza, available by the slice, as well as pasta platters and salads. Their veggie pizzas and meaty ravioli are particularly recommended. The epitome of Italian comfort food at extremely reasonable prices.
- The daily dining specials at Sally's Saloon  help make it a popular afternoon and evening destination among University students. At night, this is the place on the East Bank to see drunk college kids tripping over each other.
- Stub and Herb's Washington Ave SE and Oak St. If you're not up for a perpetual Ladies' Night and preening Greeks, Stub and Herb's has fresh soft pretzels with sweet'n'hot mustard and good beer served by friendly staff, helping to make it a local institution. Better than your average college bar, but still best avoided on weekend evenings and game days. It's allegedly not what it once was, but as they say, nostalgia ain't what it used to be.
- The Midtown Global Market  on 920 East Lake Street opened recently in what used to be a large Sears store, and is now home to a variety of cafes and restaurants from all around the world. Favorites like Holy Land Deli and Bakery, Andy's Garage in Saint Paul, and several restaurants in Mercado Central have opened satellite locations here.
- Northeast and St. Anthony Main
Bakeries and Bistros
- French Meadow Bakery, 2610 Lyndale Ave S (at 26th), 612 870-4740, fax 612 870-0907, . Owner and founder of this excellent bakery and cafe, Lynn Gordon, has a passion for fabulous yeast free breads, and has been an artisan baker since before that term began to be applied to high-quality individual bakers. $4-$20, depending on the time of day. Cheapest in the morning. The downside is the service, which is unhelpful and overtly surly in the best of times. On weekends arrive early to avoid the brunch rush, when the service (and sometimes the food) suffers greatly.
- Isles Bun and Coffee Company, 1424 W 28th St, 612 870-4466. A classic city bakery and coffee shop. Very limited seating inside, but with sidewalk tables and two blocks to Lake of the Isles it hardly matters. Bakers work in full view in a sunken work area behind the counter, putting out some of the best rolls, buns, and other delectables in the city. Check out the cinammon roll and their savory breakfast items.
- See Dinkytown, Eat Street, and Stadium Village.
- Sunny Side Up 2704 Lyndale Ave S. A local favorite with ever-changing specials. Classic greasy American(/English) breakfasts complemented by some vegetarian and Mexican-influenced dishes. Their "Benedict" specials are almost always excellent, even if they stretch the bounds of the normal understanding of Eggs Benedict.
- The Wienery, 414 Cedar Ave, 612 746-4509. Located on Cedar just a few steps south of Riverside on the West Bank. Small, family owned diner that serves basic fare. It's where the punks, aging hippies and various harmless riff-raff go for breakfast or a lunch of fries, burgers, brats or hotdogs slathered with your choice of toppings. They also carry veggie dogs for the vegetarian in you. The fries are shredded right in front of you and come out oh so crisp!
- The Dinkytowner Literally underground off 14 St in Dinkytown (hence the name), serves a large greasy spoon menu, along with breakfast, burgers, pizza, etc. Great bacon. By night, it becomes one of the area's best hip-hop bars. Near the University of Minnesota campus, it's probably not what you'd consider a "college bar" though. Prices are average for the city, and the service is good. Always good music, and cool sparkly vinyl booths.
- Cafe Barbette, 1600 W Lake St, 612 827-5710, . On the corner of Lake and Irving in Uptown, $15-$30.
- Cafe Lurcat 1624 Harmon Place, 612 486-5500. Highly recommended. $18-$40. Chic establishment with French/Fusion offerings.
- Cave Vin, 5555 Xerxes Ave, 612 922-0100. Pane's sister French restaurant - blocks from Pane - it features a Mediterranean/French menu. Again, tons of charm, great food and wine.
Fusion or Modern American
- Restaurant Alma 528 University Ave SE, 612 379-4909. Amazing food which can best be described as a combination between French, Fusion, and small-town Minnesotan. They use almost exclusively organic ingredients. $30-$60 per person for a three-course meal with wine. Cheaper, but not by much, at lunch.
- Taxxi: An American Bistro 1300 Nicollet Mall, 612 370-1234. A great new chef has revitalized the Bistro in the Hyatt. Serving high end American and International fare at reasonable prices, Taxxi is best known for its special buffets during the holidays and Mother's Day. But the daily menu, which features soup, sauces, and steak, is worth the visit. $30-$75 per person for a three-course meal with wine.
- New Delhi, 1400 Nicollet Ave S, Minneapolis. New Delhi perennially ranks at the top of both critics' and readers' lists in local papers and magazines, for good reason. The garlic naan is the best around, the dessert cocktails are something Indian restaurants in the States rarely bother with, and they serve entrees beyond the basic curries that you won't find anywhere else in town. Don't miss the lamb korma.
- Mysore, 2819 Hennepin Ave. S, Minneapolis. A new entry into the arena of vegetarian Indian cuisine, and an admirable one. With no meat on the menu, they have room for things like the South Indian dosa, a crepe-like "flatbread" which is available with toppings including paneer and eggplant. A fair portion of their menu is not available anywhere else in the Twin Cities.
- Moti Mahal, 3025 Franklin Ave E, Minneapolis. Very authentic and simplistic North India food. They seem to have fewer customers and the owner is very friendly.
- Namaste Cafe, 2512 Hennepin Ave S, Minneapolis. Located in swanky Uptown, this is a duplex converted to a restaurant and gift shop (the restaurant next door is actually called Duplex). It is somewhat difficult to locate even though it is right on Hennepin Ave which runs through the middle of Uptown. The owners are Nepali and the food is very similar to Indian cuisine. The cooking is very homey and the prices are quite reasonable for such a prime location. Lunch will cost around $8.
- Udupi (now called Nala Pak), 4920 Central Avenue NE, Columbia Heights. Just barely across the border from NE Minneapolis is Udupi, the first strictly vegetarian Indian restaurant in the Twin Cities. They do things with beans and eggplant that should be illegal.
- Surabhi Indian Cuisine 9818 Aldrich Ave S, in Bloomington. A south suburban favorite. $8-$20 dollars a person.
- D'Amico's Cucina, 100 N 6th St, 612 338-2401. One of the areas most expensive restaurants, serves amazing Italian cuisine with international and fusion touches. Expect to spend over $60 for two people. Absolutely gastronomical. Call for sure for reservations and directions. It is a little hidden.
- Pane Vino Dolce, 819 W 50th St, 612 825-3201. Considered one of the best and authentic Italian restaurants in town. There's no sign, but you'll find a hand written menu taped in the window each day. There are only about 15 tables - small, romantic, and plenty of charm.
- Broder's Pasta Bar, 5000 Penn Ave S, 612 925-9202. Broder's is "Pasta cooked the way it was meant to be." The menu features around 20 different past dishes, a mix of new and old favorites. Reasonably small, often crowded, but surprisingly conversational.
Japanese cuisine is highly competitive. Prepare to spend more at the first two establishments for sushi, which runs $5-$8 at both places per serving. The best showings are probably:
- Nami, 251 1st Ave N, 612 333-1999. Located in the Warehouse District nearby 1st Ave, which runs parallel to Hennepin. Lunch specials, decor, and very modern, relaxing atmosphere. $10 per person plus tip at lunchtime, and $20 per person in the evening
- Origami, 30 N 1st St, 612 333-8430. Best known for their sushi. Located in the Warehouse District nearby 1st Ave, which runs parallel to Hennepin. $10 per person plus tip at lunchtime, and $20 per person in the evening. Generally a posh, overly-sedate crowd and indifferent service.
- Koyi, 122 N 4th St, 612 375-9811. Located in the Warehouse District across the street from Pizza Luce and next to the Thai restaurant, Sawadee. Their 5-7pm happy hour features about a dozen different types of rolls for less than $4.00 each. Good service.
- Fuji-Ya, 600 W Lake St. 612 871-4055 A Lyn-Lake (Lyndale and Lake intersection) favorite.
- Kikugawa, 43 Main Street SE, 612 378-3006. A laid-back favorite with floor and faux-floor (dugout booth) seating, Kikugawa is the place to get excellent sushi without paying twice as much as necessary and enduring a silly, hoity-toity atmosphere for what amounts to sitting around noshing on finger food.
In recent years, Minneapolis has developed a core community of Mexican-born residents. As a result, several good, authentic Mexican restaurants have cropped up.
- Taco Morelos, 14 W 26th St, 612 870-0053. Near the corner of Nicollet Avenue and 26th St in the "Eat Street" area. What was once a cheap, authentic, storefront restaurant, has become a mid-price, authentic restaurant/bar with at least three locations in the Twin Cities area. The original location on on 26th St. is now called a "Tex Mex Grill", but don't let that fool you. For around $10 you can still get a fantastic burrito or one of the best plates of huevos rancheros in town.
- Mercado Central, Corner of Lake Street and Bloomington Avenue. Meant to mimic a Mexican outdoor market but all indoors (probably because of the prodigious winters). You can buy tamales to go and there's a "food court" comprised totally of Mexican and Salvadoran owned restaurants.
- Pepito's. A mainstay of South Minneapolis with two locations.
- 4624 Nicollet Ave, 612 825-6311. The deli-style fast food version is located on the corner of Nicollet and 46th. Try the fish tacos, they're fantastic. No alcohol, but fast service and fantastic food for those on the go.
- 4820 Chicago Ave, 612 822-2104. The sit-down restaurant version is located on the corner of 48th and Chicago Ave. There's a full bar, a kid-friendly menu and good food at reasonable prices. If you're traveling with a toddler and want decent food in a family-friendly restaurant, Pepitos has a good kid's menu with items for $4.95 each and the food comes fast. So you and yours can eat before your two year-old throws the entire bowl of chips at the adjoining booth.
- Holy Land Deli and Bakery, 2513 Central Ave NE, 612 781-2627, and a satellite location at the Midtown Global Market, 920 E Lake St, Suite 145, . Middle Eastern and Mediterranean/Greek cuisine. The gyros are some of the best in the United States, and the chicken curry gyros are very original and tasty. It's hard to go wrong with their menu, which is especially friendly towards vegetarians. The lunch/dinner buffet also is good and cheap, but call to make sure that the gyro meats will be served with it. $6-$10 dollars per person. It also sports a full-sized market. The bread, hummus, imports, and other specialties are wonderful, but call ahead to make sure that you get fresh produce on a delivery day.
- Crescent Moon Bakery, 2339 Central Ave NE, 612 782-0169. What they are known for is their savory and spicy Afghani pizza with its special sauce - one of the most underrated and unique pies in town (if not the best). What most miss due to the pull of the pizza is their equally incredible gyro meat, expertly seasoned and lightly charred for a nice texture. They also serve kabob platters. Prices run as low as $5 for a gyro and $12 for the huge Afghani pizza (could easily feed 3 normal appetites), and as high as $25-30 for one of the massive platters.
- True Thai, 2627 E Franklin Ave, 612 375-9942. True Thai stands as the current champion of Thai food in Minneapolis. The Chili-Tamarind, Rama Spinach Curry, and Pad Thai are amazing at this establishment. $9-$17 dollars per person for an entree and drink.
- Chiang Mai Thai, 3001 Hennepin Ave S, 612 827-1606. In Uptown, Chiang Mai Thai has a romantic and authentic ambiance and large servings. Try the Thai Basil or Ginger Stir Fry. Entrees are $9-$18.
- Thanh Do, 3005 Utah Avenue S, 952 935-5005. Although a trek from the city itself (in St. Louis Park) the Basil Pod Thai is the best in the area. Get it take-out, though, as the service and atmosphere is lacking.
- Hard Times Cafe, 1821 Riverside Ave, 612 341-9261. Located on Riverside a few steps east of Cedar on the West Bank. Open 22 hours a day every day, 6:00am-4:00am. The best people watching, cheapest vegan food, and most endearingly diy decor in the city, but don't expect a friendly staff.
- Seward Cafe, 2129 E Franklin Ave, 612 332-1011. Located a few blocks east of the Franklin Ave light-rail station in the Seward neighborhood. Open for breakfast and lunch only.
- Ecopolitan, 2409 Lyndale Ave S, 612 874-7336, . Raw vegan food.
Sometimes you roll into town and you just want a good slice of pizza. Minneapolis has a few offerings.
- Punch Pizza has a few locations around the Twin Cities and one of them know a true northern italian pizza when they see it, will be more than happy to discover this little gem. Punch is one of the few restaurants that actually has certification from the official Napoli pizza organization. Pizza Luce is the crowd favorite but Punch is the critic's. Evidently it is Meryl Streep's as well. In Minneapolis:
- West of Lake Calhoun: 3226 W Lake St, 612 929-0006.
- Old Saint Anthony: 210 E Hennepin Ave, 612 623-8114.
- Pizza Lucé  has three locations in Minneapolis:
- Downtown: 119 N 4th St, +1 612 333-7359. Open Su-Th 11AM-2:30AM, F-Sa 11AM-3:30AM.
- Uptown: 3200 Lyndale Ave S, +1 612 827-5978. Open daily 11AM-2:30AM.
- Seward: 2200 E Franklin Ave, 612 332-2535. Open daily 11AM-2:30AM.
- St. Paul: 1183 Selby Ave, "+1 651" 288-0186. Open daily 11AM-2:30AM.
- Go to the downtown location if you can on the corner of 5th St. and 2nd Ave N. Easily the best pizza in town. Full bar, punk rock staff. You can get pizza by the slice or sit down and order a whole pie. Open until 3 a.m. The Uptown location is on the corner of 32nd and Lyndale Ave. S. The pizza is still fantastic, but the service is not as good. The Seward location on the corner of 22nd and Franklin Ave has mixed results. Pizza is still good there, but not as good as the other two locations. The new Selby location in St. Paul location offers a less hectic experience(no hour long waits after last call) not too far from Minneapolis or many of the private colleges in St. Paul, it also has a larger variety of alcoholic drinks than the others.
- Davanni's,  Multiple locations throughout the Twin Cities metro area. In Minneapolis:
- West Bank/Seward: 25th Ave and Riverside Avenues +1 612 332-5551
- Uptown: 1414 W. Lake St. (near the corner of Lake and Hennepin) +1 612 822-3111
- Downtown: 1138 Hennepin Ave. (11th St. and Hennepin Ave.) +1 612 338-0000
- Is probably the only place in town where one can get authentic, Chicago-style pizza. Beer on tap. Good hoagies too.
- Jakeeno's, 3601 Chicago Ave, +1 612 825-6827 - Jakeeno's offers good pizza and other pasta dishes. Try the potato and rosemary pizza. Located on the corner of 36th and Chicago. Not a horrible neighborhood, but not the best either. Jakeeno's is clean, friendly and family-run however. Worth the trip. Wine and beer served.
- Fat Lorenzo's, 5600 Cedar Ave, +1 612 822-2040 - Good service, good pizza. "Fat" is in the name of the place--plan accordingly. A good first stop or last stop on your way to or from the airport. Beer and wine.
- Galactic Pizza, 2917 Lyndale Ave S (a few steps north of Lake), +1 612 824-9100  - Uptown's newest pizza joint. The decor is kitschy. Their stand out feature is not only a little car run 100% by electric power but the delivery driver dons a funky costume while driving said vehicle. If you order the Second Harvest pizza (which is excellent, I must say) the business donates a dollar to the Second Harvest Food Bank (for every one ordered).
- See also Crescent Moon Bakery in the Middle Eastern section above.
Minneapolis has one of the most vibrant and independent music scenes in the country. The city is probably most famous for its purple pop wonder, Prince, but also boasts bands such as Soul Asylum, The Replacements, The Jayhawks, and Polara just to name a few. Several clubs in town play host to shows by local bands and your chances of finding a good one are better than average.
- Downtown has several music offerings including:
- First Avenue  Famous as setting for the film Purple Rain and the silver stars that cover the outside of the building. It has two parts, the Entry, an essential visit for punk fans 21+ and the Mainroom which shows bigger bands and is often all ages.
- The Fine Line Music Cafe  18+ a wide variety of music genres.
- Dakota Jazz Club and Restaurant  Upscale jazz club on Nicollet Mall
- Bunker's Music Bar and Grill 
- Club 3 Degrees  is a modern, upmarket club featuring Contemporary Christian Music, both DJs and live bands, coffee and soft drinks but no alcohol
- West Bank and Uptown also have a number of good places:
- Triple Rock,  The place to be seen for local hipsters, often all ages
- The Cabooze,  Famed biker bar that also attracts a fair amount of non-bikers.
- Terminal Bar, . 21+
- Hexagon Bar. 21+
- The 400 Bar, . 21+ lots of local music
- Lee's Liquor Lounge, .
- Varsity Theater,  18+ elegantly decorated
- Famous Dave's' BBQ and Blues Club,  Live local and national blues music many nights, see their music club calendar here: .
- Dulono's Pizza and Pasta,  Features live bluegrass and folk music on Friday and Saturday nights, see the upcoming schedule here: 
- Uptown Bar and Cafe, .
The nightlife in general can be vibrant in several areas. The Warehouse District is great for clubbers, Dinkytown is good for college partygoers, Uptown is good for those with a bit more money, and The Mall of America has several spots for the middle aged and sports fans. Minneapolis is not the 24 hour city that New York is, but bars close at 2AM - so that is still plenty of time, especially if you find a party to go to afterwards (it is best to be accompanied by friends and to know someone either through a reliable acquaintance, friend, or client who knows your host's social status).
Minneapolis certainly accommodates those seeking a good drink. There are over a dozen Irish, German, or British pubs, such as The Local, Black Forest Inn, Brit's Pub, Gastoff's, or Kieran's. Local dining, clubs, pubs, and bars in general compete for the best Happy Hour specials. It's a good idea to pick up a City Pages or to do an internet search to find the best deals.
Most liquor stores in the general metropolitan area close at 10PM. You can save more money by purchasing your own supply. Be sure to check out the yellow pages for liquor stores which specialize in wines or beers.
- Surdyk's, University and East Hennepin just northeast across the river from downtown. A liquor store with an amazing wine selection and an impressive amount of international specialties like sake and plum wine, beers (dozens of English microbreweries are represented), port wines, champagnes, vodkas, whiskeys, and others.
- France 44 Wines & Spirits, in southwest Minneapolis, literally across the street from the city of Edina on West 44th Street and France Avenue South. This shop used to be a converted gas station but went through a miraculous renovation a couple of years ago. Be sure to check out the walk-in beer cooler, as well as the accessories and fine spirits collection in the basement. A very competent deli shares an entrance.
When you are a stranger, sometimes it's hard to find a good cup of coffee besides the ubiquitous Starbucks. Luckily, Minneapolis' independent spirit has yielded good cups of coffee in so many places, one can hardly throw a rock without it landing in a latte.
- Caribou  is second to Starbucks in number and of similar feel and quality in the drinks. The shots are 1.5 oz compared to Starbucks 1.0 ounce.
- Dunn Bros  is third in chains for number of locations. The coffee here is fresh (ground daily in the shop) but somewhat stronger than most places in town. Their fantastic brewed coffee is a little more impressive than the espresso, but their shots are at least a mighty 3.0 oz. Dunn Bros also excels at offering free WiFi access and (often) free Internet terminals.
- Other independent shops abound in various neighborhoods with the coffee shops per block reaching critical mass in the Uptown and Dinkytown neighborhoods. Never fear, wherever you end up, you can be assured a coffee shop is within a few blocks. Particularly in South Minneapolis.
- Wilde Roast Cafe  has possibly the best atmosphere of any coffeeshop in town. Its nouveau-Victorian decor - complete with a giant portrait of Oscar Wilde - make for a great relaxation or date destination. It also houses Query, a gay/lesbian-aimed bookstore with a nice selection. The drinks and expertly crafted desserts are of high-quality, but a tad pricey. If you want to show off the wallet, truly relax in the austere surroundings, or if you're looking for a more queer-friendly destination, try it!
- Tillie's Bean  winner of the Golden Cup award, features fresh made sandwiches and pastries. Free wi-fi and live music on Friday and Saturday nights. They are located just 1 1/2 blocks from the 38th Street Light Rail Station making it easy to access without a car.
Starbucks- Nothing beats an American Classic. With true coffee and fair trade act practices, Starbucks Coffee is the best place to sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee. The environment is always relaxing and the service is always legendary. Starbucks, which is less expensive than its' "rivals" caribou and dunn bros, offers more bang for the buck and doesn't serve watered-down coffee like its' competitors. www.starbucks.com
Also see district articles for more coffeehouses.
There is a good variety of hotels. Most of them are clustered in downtown, or near the University of Minnesota. Avoid straying too far away from town without a car. In downtown, the Doubletree hotel is a great value. There is a good Radisson, Marriott, and many Holiday Inns around the area.
The University of Minnesota Radisson is a good place to stay during times when sports and school are quiet. Refer to the Qwest Dex yellow pages for more "Ma & Pa" lodgings or for special luxury suites.
Minneapolis International Hostel, 2400 Stevens Ave (two blocks east of Nicollet), +1 612 522-5000 (toll-free +1 888-250-3315)  - This is the most well-established backpackers hostel in the Twin Cities. Quick walking distance to the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and Eat Street. A 15 minute walk or short bus ride to Downtown, and a short bus ride to Uptown. Beds start at $24.95 per night.
Minneapolis EcoHostel, 2409 Lyndale Ave S, +1 612 584-4350,  - In the Ecopolitan building. Building houses the Ecopolitan Restaurant, which only serves organic raw vegan fare. Hostel patrons are instructed to abide by certain principles (e.g. don't bring any non-vegan food into the hostel). Quick and easy access to Uptown and Downtown by bus, bike, or even foot. Rates unknown, call for details.
The Railstation Hostel 3619 Snelling Ave, +1 612 242-0928 - Calls itself a "safe, Christian-based hostel," according to some hostel websites. The hostel is located a few blocks away from the 38th Street light-rail station, providng quick access to Downtown, the University area, the airport, and the Mall of America. There isn't much to do in the hostel's surrounding neighborhood, although it isn't too far away from the Mississippi River or Minnehaha Park. Beds start at $30 per night.
- Doubletree Guest Suites Minneapolis, (612)-332-6800, . Downtown Conveniently located just blocks from the Minneapolis Convention Center, the Doubletree Guest Suites Minneapolis places you in the heart of the Midwest's most vibrant big city. Discover the boutique charm of this downtown Minneapolis hotel, which is situated in the city's premier shopping and theater district. Only minutes from the Target Center and Metrodome, we provide easy access to more than 100 restaurants and nightclubs.
- Holiday Inn Metrodome, 1-800-448-DOME(3663), . Downtown Minneapolis hotel that puts all of the area's most recognizable attractions within easy reach - from the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome and the convention center to the University of Minnesota and the Mall of America.
- Holiday Inn Burnsville, 1-888-463-7200, . Southern Minneapolis hotel that provides direct access to the area's most popular attractions. Holiday Inn Burnsville is the true Getaway to the Twin Cities.
Chambers Hotel, 901 Hennepin Ave, +1 612 767-6900 .
Graves 601, 601 First Ave North +1 866 523-1100 .
Hilton Minneapolis, 1001 Marquette Ave, +1 612 376-1000 .
Hyatt Regency Minneapolis, 1300 Nicollet Mall, +1 612 370-1234 (fax +1 612-370-1463),  - Rooms start at $189 per night, but discounts can be had. The Hyatt is also home to two high quality dining experiences: Oceanaire and Taxxi.
Minneapolis (along with the airport and the suburbs of Richfield and St. Anthony) is located in the 612 area code. From 612, it is not necessary to dial a 1 before the area code when calling numbers in the 651 (Saint Paul and east suburbs), 763 (northwest suburbs), or 952 (southwest suburbs) area codes.
The Minneapolis Public Library  has computer workstations with internet access at all of their locations. You can access the internet for free for up to one hour within a 6-hour block of time. As an out-of-town visitor without a Minneapolis library card, you will need to obtain a Temporary Internet Access Card from a librarian; proper photo identification is necessary to obtain one.
As with any major American city, keep your eyes open and your wits about you. Crime is relatively low in most parts of Minneapolis that you're likely to visit, but it does exist. Violent crimes can occur and unfortunately have occurred in all parts of the City. As in all cities these crimes receive a disproportionate amount of attention from local media. These tragic events, however, are typically not random so it probably will not impact your visit. You are more likely to be a victim of crimes of opportunity. So when traveling do not leave any items that can be quickly converted to cash in plain view in cars, unattended at restaurants and other public areas. These crimes can and do occur in all areas, especially where you would have your guard down. So, when you take in our great park system or travel to the unique urban shopping destinations ensure that all valuables remain with you or are secured out-of-view in your vehicle. Very important note, if you are going to secure your valuables in a vehicle, make sure you store them prior to arriving at you destination. Thieves are experts at watching people store valuables in the trunk and then when they leave the thief will strike.
There are several day trip destinations near the city.
- Mall of America and The Park At MoA in nearby Bloomington.
- Valley Fair is an amusement park that's within an hour's drive in nearby Shakopee.
- Minnesota Zoo is in nearby Apple Valley.
- Lutsen has what may be the best skiing in the state.
- Lake Mille Lacs offers good fishing, boat rentals and fishing guides.
- New Ulm is famous for its German beer, German festivals, and amateur baseball tradition.
- Stillwater is a beautiful, historic town about an hour away that has the highest number of celebrity sightings per capita in the state.
- State Parks. The state has many well-kept state parks for those who like to camp and fish.
- Duluth is 155 miles north on I-35, and is great for an over night trip. On your trip up, make sure to stop by Tobies in Hinckley for the world's best caramel rolls.
|This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!